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The Food and Drug Administration is warning women that a device-assisted procedure for treating growths in the uterus could inadvertently spread cancer to other parts of the body.
The agency is discouraging doctors from performing the procedure, which uses an electronically powered device to grind up uterus tissue so it can be removed through a small incision. Known as laparoscopic power morcellation, the technique is used to treat painful fibroids, either by removing the growths themselves or the entire uterus.
The procedure was developed as a less invasive alternative to traditional surgery.
But FDA says the procedure could actually be spreading uterine cancer to other parts of the body. The agency estimates that 1 in 350 women who undergo fibroid procedure may have an undetected cancer known as uterine sarcoma.